This is a good place to start, especially if you haven’t done any research at all yet.
While the Dremel rotary tools are meant to be very accessible to non-experts, there are still a few definitions and clarifications that can be useful right from the get-go. I’ll keep updating and fleshing out this page over time, so keep checking back. And of course, let me know if there is something else that you think should be here – if it wasn’t perfectly clear to you, chances are other people struggled with it too.
- Rotary tool – Probably something that ought to be addressed right at the start. Dremel now makes a number of different tools or, rather, tool systems, such as Trio or Multi-Max, so the designation “Rotary Tool” is technically necessary. However, when most people hear or use the name “Dremel”, they still think of the classical and original tools that made the company popular in the first place (this is pure speculation on my part, by the way – don’t expect a reference to a scientific survey 🙂 ). So, a Dremel rotary tool is essentially a very versatile drill, though I suspect that the company really doesn’t like it to be thought of this way.
- Corded vs. Cordless – pretty self-explanatory. There are those Dremel rotary tools that need to be plugged in in order to function and those that use a rechargeable battery. If you are trying to decide between the two, you can read my blog post on the subject here.
- Accessory – In my humble opinion, not the best name for the part that does the actual work, i.e. the “business end” of the tool. Accessories fall into a number of categories, labeled by Dremel as “Cutting”, “Routing”, “Grinding & Sharpening”, etc. and include things like sanding wheels and discs, engraving and drill bits, cutting discs known as cut-off wheels, and a myriad of others. (By the way, it is the fact that Dremel puts drilling bits into the “Miscellaneous” category that makes me think that they really don’t want their rotary tools to be thought of as glorified drills. 🙂 )
- Attachment – This one is a little difficult to define, but basically it’s anything that can be attached to your Dremel tool in some way and that does not directly cut, grind, polish etc. (that would be the accessories) but rather helps you to do so. Attachments include everything from the relatively simple additional grip that helps you hold the tool, to the pretty involved (I don’t want to say “complicated”) shaper/router table or the workstation that lets you turn your rotary tool into a drill press.
Last but not least: read this post on safety, then remember to pick up a pair of safety goggles at first opportunity.